Florida shoolteacher Robert Goodman ran out of paid sick days whilst fighting cancer, so in just four days his colleagues donated enough additional sick days to cover an entire semester.
With all his paid sick days used up, teacher Robert Goodman was facing a bleak future
With the chemotherapy drugs dripping through a catheter in his chest, cancer patient Robert Goodman knew he had used up all his official paid sick days while undergoing surgery and chemotherapy for cancer of the colon. The Florida public school teacher guessed he needed at least 20 more sick days to deal with further chemotherapy treatment, and these were days he simply did not have. What happened next is truly heartwarming.
“Anybody can get cancer, but not everyone is willing to help,”
So with this at the forefront of his mind, on July 23, from right there in his sick bed at Tomsich Health and Medical Center of Palm Beach County, Goodman took a selfie, posted it on Facebook and appealed for help. Boom! Within just four days he had enough sick days to cover an entire semester!
"I couldn’t believe it happened so fast," Goodman, 56, told CNN. Teachers, staff members, administrators and even lunchroom workers who pay into the Florida retirement system transferred 75 sick days to Goodman. "Educators all over the country were reaching out to me to donate their sick days, even professors over at Florida Atlantic University," he said. "I felt guilty because I knew there were people who had it much worse than me."
A stunning response to a shocking diagnosis
Goodman, who has taught history at Palm Beach Gardens Community High School for 23 years, learned he had stage III colon cancer in April. "It was terrifying," he said. He began documenting his journey on Facebook. "It was the easiest way to let people know how I was feeling and at the same time inspire people who were going through something similar," Goodman said.
The response to his appeal for more sick days was remarkable. "I wasn’t surprised that teachers were giving. Teachers are always giving all the time,” he said. "When one of their own needs help they’ll always step up.
And there was the outpouring of support from students. "Students sharing stories of how I’ve positively influenced them was a good reminder of why I chose to teach and why I can’t wait to get back," Goodman said.
Missing school, yet teaching us all a lesson
Classes at Goodman’s school started on August 13th. For now, he isn’t there. As Goodman continues to fight cancer, the self-proclaimed "teacher by day, singer-songwriter by life" is working on songs. He hopes to use his experience to inspire more good in humanity.
"Anybody can get cancer, but not everyone is willing to help," Goodman said. "We all have it in us, but it’s good to get back in touch with our compassion."
The whole team at BrightVibes wish Robert a speedy recovery to full health.
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Take just a few minutes today, and do a kindness for another person. It can be something small, or the start of something big. Ask them to pay it forward. Put a smile on someone’s face. Don’t know where to start? Here’s an extremely incomplete list, just to get you thinking...